The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the value of each driver.
The DraftKings Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 NASCAR slate locks at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
1. Denny Hamlin ($10,400) — This is an egregious salary for the No. 54 car and Denny Hamlin. Kyle Busch is usually priced around $15,000 in this car. Hamlin is an absolute beast at Darlington and the No. 54 JGR Toyota is a beast itself.
2. Austin Cindric ($11,300) — He led the third-most laps (34) in the first Darlington race and spent most of the first two stages inside the top 5. Cindric restarted stage 3 near 20th and was never able to climb out of traffic and eventually wrecked in that traffic on the final restart.
3. Justin Allgaier ($9,700) — In the May race at Darlington, Allgaier might not have been the best driver, but there wasn’t a best driver in that race. There were a lot of bad drivers that brought out a lot of cautions, and after a series of restarts in stage 3, Allgaier emerged victorious.
4. Noah Gragson ($9,900) — This has been a pretty unlucky season for Gragson. He’s wrecked, been wrecked while leading and suffered mechanical failures. In the Darlington spring race, he was on his way to a win until a late race caution changed everything.
5. Tyler Reddick ($10,200) — The last time Tyler Reddick drove an Our Motorsports car at a track where the fastest groove was along the wall, he almost won. Darlington isn’t Homestead, but Reddick’s fearless approach won’t change.
6. Daniel Hemric ($9,200) — The list of races where Daniel Hemric has almost won is quite long. In the spring race at Darlington, Hemric took advantage of a caution near the end of stage 2 and was going to cycle to the front, but a flat tire forced an additional pit stop.
7. Harrison Burton ($9,400) — On lap 142 of 147 in the first Darlington race, Burton was in third place, but he gambled and chose to take four fresh tires. He restarted 17th with two laps to go and was unable to get back into the top 10.
8. Brandon Jones ($10,600) — In the September 2020 Darlington race, Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain wrecked each other on the final lap and Brandon Jones snuck away with the win. This year, Brandon Jones wrecked himself trying to take the lead at Darlington.
9. Austin Dillon ($10,800) — When Jordan Anderson is not driving in the Jordan Anderson car, it’s pretty good. Jordan Anderson isn’t a great driver to begin with, but managing a racing team and racing is too much for anyone. The #31 car is old RCR equipment and it’s capable of top 15 finishes, that is if Anderson hasn’t destroyed all of his RCR equipment by now.
10. AJ Allmendinger ($9,000) — His car was too tight early at Darlington, but Allmendinger was able to run inside the top 10 throughout the race. Allmendinger gambled and took four tires before the final restart, but track position was king at Darlington and Allmendinger finished 13th.
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11. Brandon Brown ($7,600) — His season has fallen apart. Brown was a rising star and a weekly top-10 driver before the diverse summer schedule caught up with his small team. If Brown can keep his car clean, then he should be able to earn a top-15 finish at this intermediate track.
12. B.J. McLeod ($6,700) — Pay attention to the entry list. McLeod is not in a McLeod car, he’s driving decent equipment for Mario Gosselin. Last season, in decent equipment at Darlington — JD Motorsports — McLeod earned a top-15 finish. He earned a top 15 at Darlington in a McLeod car, too.
13. Ryan Ellis ($5,800) — Very rarely does Ryan Ellis get an opportunity to race. When he gets to strap in, it’s not to park or cruise in the back. At Darlington in May, Ellis finished 16th in a B.J. McLeod car.
14. Jade Buford ($4,600) — His starting position is risky, but not $4,600 risky. In the five races leading up to Daytona (wreck), Buford was averaging a 17th place finish. If he finishes 17th this weekend, that will be more than 6x and he’ll likely be in the optimal lineup.
15. Ryan Vargas ($4,900) — At most of the tracks on the circuit, Vargas lacks experience. However, at Darlington, Vargas has a 27th and a 25th place finish. He was in 20th place before he was spun out on a late race restart in the May race.
16. Michael Annett ($8,100) — The No. 1 Jr Motorsports car is capable of a top-10 finish anywhere and Annett has recorded a top 10 in each of the last two races at Darlington. A top 10 will likely work in cash games, but if there is some chaos at the end — not a stretch at Darlington — Annett can finish close to the top 5 and work in GPPs.
17. Brett Moffitt ($8,600) — As far as talent goes, Moffitt is one of the best drivers in the series. Unfortunately, his equipment cannot compete with his peers. Despite the disadvantage, Moffit has finished 11th and eighth in three Darlington races.
18. Myatt Snider ($8,000) — This track typically generates plenty of cautions in the Xfinity series and that could benefit Snider as long as he isn’t one of the cautions. The race could end with chaos and restarts, and that’s how Snider won at Homestead earlier this season.
19. Timmy Hill ($5,200) — At the moment, it does not appear that this Carl Long car has sponsorship, but would Hill start and park in his first oval race in three months? Nothing in this series should surprise DFS players, especially not Carl Long shenanigans. If Hill has a real car, he can finish around 20th, but that is a huge if.
20. Justin Haley ($8,400) — It’s hard to get excited about some of the Xfinity drivers this week. Haley is starting too close to the front and he’s too expensive. However, there just aren’t any other plays. Haley is good enough to hang around the top 5 and if his competition wrecks, then he could sneak into a winning lineup.
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